SOLD

1959 Jaguar XK150 Drop Head Coupe

Upon its introduction in the spring of 1957, Jaguar’s latest iteration of the XK-series got off to a slightly bumpy start. First, the factory fire that famously destroyed the remaining XKSS chassis also caused significant delays in the production of the new XK150. Once the earliest XK150 models reached the hands of testers, some complained about the car’s performance feeling rather blunt. While there were numerous mechanical improvements, including the addition of four-wheel disc brakes, the more substantial body caused it to be nominally slower than the outgoing XK140. Jaguar quickly addressed the issue by adding the Special Equipment package to the options list, which effectively became the new base model. The package included the B-Type cylinder head and dual exhaust, boosting performance enough to satisfy buyers and help the XK150 live up to its stylish new looks.

Like the XK140 before it, Jaguar offered the XK150 as a fixed head coupe, drophead coupe, and (from mid-1957) open-two-seat roadster. Beyond the pure aesthetic updates, the taller, slab-sided body allowed for a wider and substantially more comfortable cockpit, finally addressing a long-running complaint among XK owners. Leather and “Vynide” trim on the dash replaced the traditional burl wood trim of earlier models for a fresher and more modern appearance. With the initial hurdles behind it, the XK150 sold quite well, capitalizing on its Le Mans-winning pedigree. The success of the XK150 variants sustained Jaguar’s position the sharp end of the sports car market, even in the face of increasing competition from America and elsewhere, setting the stage for the XK’s sensational replacement, the E-Type, in 1961.

This lovely XK150 features the versatile and attractive Drophead Coupe coachwork and is presented with a beautiful, well-maintained restoration and subtle updates including a 5-speed gearbox to improve performance and drivability. The Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust Certificate shows this car was completed on October 22, 1958, finished in Carmen Red over a red interior, and equipped with the 3.4-liter engine and Borg Warner transmission. It presents today in excellent condition, wearing a well-maintained restoration in the original shade of red over a biscuit interior and fawn canvas top. The body and paintwork are older, yet crisp and well-presented, displaying properly fitted panels with even, consistent gaps. The car rides on sparkling chrome wire wheels shod with high-performance, period-correct Michelin X radials. The remaining brightwork on the bumpers and body is in good order, with some fading and minor pitting evident, but with an overall consistent appearance that suits the car’s driver-friendly nature.

Inside, biscuit upholstery provides a lovely complement to the bright red paintwork. The seats are in excellent order, showing just the slightest creasing from use. Carpets, door cards, and interior panels feature correct style material, all presented in excellent condition. The instrument panel has attractive burl maple veneer and Vynide trim, and houses restored Smiths gauges, proper switchgear, and a period-correct radio. With its larger, fully-lined soft top and more luxurious trim, the drophead coupe nicely balances the opulent environment of the fixed head coupe with the open-air excitement of the roadster. Accompanying the sale are several items, including the tool kit, jack, grease gun, owner’s manual, and service manuals.

Beneath the bonnet sits the original 3.4-liter inline-six with numbers-matching block and head per the heritage certificate. The twin-cam unit is one of the most iconic engines ever produced, with its signature polished alloy cam covers and S.U. carburetor bodies. The engine is well detailed with a tidy, honest presentation befitting its tour-ready quality. Highlights include excellent black-porcelain exhaust manifolds with correct brass hardware and good quality polish work on the alloy. As previously stated, a five-speed manual gearbox replaces the cumbersome original Borg-Warner automatic, drastically improving this car’s performance and fun-factor. Additionally, powerful Wilwood brake calipers on the front axle provide a welcome upgrade for spirited motoring.

Combining a luxuriously trimmed cabin, full folding soft top, and proven underpinnings, the XK150 is arguably the most versatile and usable model in the entire XK series. Featuring a well-maintained restoration and thoughtful mechanical upgrades, this example of Jaguar’s superb grand tourer is ideally suited for enthusiastic touring, rallies, and regular enjoyment on your favorite roads.

 

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